daily life

it is perhaps a terrible irony, but I do believe that living in such close proximity, packed like cockaroaches right on top of one another, relieves people of their inborn civility. on a regular basis in this city where I am living I witness people commit flagrant acts of rudeness as if it were justified and pardonable– from profanities uttered full voice through lowered car windows to gestural impertinences undertaken effortlesslessly, scooting up the ending, merging lane ahead of a waiting line of traffic, trusting to the goodwill or at least car-sense of others to yield to a forced last-minute merge. occasionally this sort of assholeish line-cutting will put me so altogether out of sorts and beside myself that I will creep along upon the bumper of the car ahead, refusing to give a single inch– and then the entitled bastard edging in beside me, in his guzzler SUV, blatantly on his cell phone, wearing his too-joe-cool shades, will say, yeah this fucking bitch won’t let me merge– yeah, YOU, you bitch— and I’ll roll my window all the way down and scold him impotently for line-cutting– I so badly want to shake my finger, school-marm style at him, and only just resist– and drive on, feeling both irate and idiotic, flummoxed as to how I’ve come to this sad pass– from peaceful days in iowa and north carolina– what grisly feistiness this urban existence elicits in me.

quotidian thrash


another fine book with “dog” in the title (no mystery why these jump off the shelf at me): a three dog life by abigail thomas– memoir most gracefully arranged.

my head is full of shards that poke me awake at three and four a.m.– at which point I’ll get out of bed, fed up with it, meander aimlessly from bathroom to kitchen, alight on the couch and sit staring, full of unreconcilable noise, simply fraught in the dark, until eventually exhaustion wins out and back to bed.

saturday we spent entirely out, unusual for habitual homebodies– downtown among the shamrock throng– we pursued our own parallel and unrelated course from cell phone store to lunch to art museum to secondhand shops to bar and so on, weaving through and among all those drunken costumed babies– girls crying into cell phones, boys hollering, singing, peeing in doorways– loud and incidental to our own daylong adventure.

we’ve decided to stay put for now, though spring is tweaking me– it’s the good choice, pull ourselves together in all the right ways for planned rather than haphazard forward momentum. practicing patience is uncomfortable. my mind hounds itself with buts and ifs, and it’s difficult to keep still and steady. my heart craves large, marked and decisive gestures, but is unable or unwilling to settle on a single direction for momentum and so thrashes against itself, pushing this way and that until it’s simply worn out.

the time has changed, so days are brighter and seem longer, which lifts my mood across the board– regardless the prospect of another year confounds.

45 min.

walking out on my own at lunchtime is, on occasion, good for my head– gives me some clear space, a little bubble of lightened gravity in the middle of my working day.

today it’s raining, so I put on my blue overcoat and popped my purple umbrella for the four block stroll through suburban skokie to the greek sandwich place on the corner.

I keep encountering dead things in my path lately– a juvenile raccoon fallen from a tree and playing host to fat, busy beetles who wove in and out of its skin on the cranberry bog trail up in michigan– and today a black squirrel on the sidewalk, looking so newly fallen, bright eyes staring, limbs curved as if with crawling, light skin showing through rain-drenched black fur– something in me wanted, foolishly, to shelter it from the rain.

the rose of sharon blossoms seem to be drinking in the moisture above their shed and trampled kind, the cosmos hanging like sodden pink damsels in the downpour.

I scuff out and sit before a droplet-streaked window and eat my sandwich slowly, gazing into traffic and thinking nothing in particular– and walk back with the palpable feeling of greater space inside my skull, loafers soaked, steps lighter.

yellow dawn

the colors at sunset and sunrise have been startling and super-saturated– last night it was golden-orange against the building opposite for a good while, instensifying bit by bit into darkness– this morning I awoke from busy dreams desperate to pee, and when I returned to bed, the color of framed window light arrested me– a deep butter yellow, and all the branches and leaves still, as if in attendance on something holy. I lay there watching the color shift to a lighter, greyish early morning cast, and the trees began to sway and shiver with moving air, a breeze that smelled of autumn and moist growing things– and then I had to sneeze and go blow my nose.

getting better all the ti-i-ime…

ah, the beatles. so good for any occasion.

summer sunday morning, lying in bed lakeside, with birds in the trees out the windows behind my head, voices drifting up from passersby below, sounds of puttering from chris in the kitchen, sunlight shifting in the room as clouds pass across the sky. woke up this morning and made an apple pancake and watched assorted japanese stuffed animal animation and old campy bruce campbell tv clips on hulu. ventured out yesterday during one of my tiny windows of stamina and visited the public library to procure a stack of videos. emerged into cyclonic wind whipping dust across little league fields and parents bearing assorted athletic equipment and uniformed kids in tow dashing through traffic and wreaking general mayhem on lincoln avenue as the first cold sprinkle started. drove home, parked, walked across the street, and the heavens opened and drenched us in the one block walk to the apartment building front door. took a hot shower, followed by a three hour nap. ate fantastic hamburgers a la chris for dinner, chopped apple mixed in with the beef with melted colby cheese on top, sliced tomato and lettuce, and a garlic-buttered kaiser roll. yum. followed closely by cherry jello and mst 3k-esque viewing of the plague of the zombies.

on the mend and enjoying the good life fo’ sho.

hooray for friday!

it’s been a heckuva week. I feel like I need to sleep for about a day– but there’s funstuff planned, which also makes me very happy. just get me through today, please– fridays at my place of work can on occasion be racheted-up anxiety fests. I’m keeping my expectations low: somewhat peace and getting a bit of work taken care of. wish me luck. and then weekend.

incidentally, there’s this funny thing about friday night– it always seems like there should be extra hours in it because, yknow, it’s the weekend— but then you get to it and find that it’s pretty much just like any other evening of the week– the sun goes down at about the same time, etcetera. it’s a bit of a mindjam.

the tuesday that wouldn’t quit

whew. hello, wednesday, old buddy old pal.

yesterday was one looooooooooo-oooooooooo-ooooooooooong day. and I didn’t even move house or go to court or wait while a loved one had surgery or anything major. it was Just Plain Long. went like this:

1. alarm 4:45 a.m. ouch.– no, wait– this ouch is also contingent on the going out the night before, drinking, staying up too late– yeah, weird for a monday, but they happen. so, yeah, 4:45 a.m. was painful.

2. stumble around getting dressed, etcetera, which process involved accidentally throwing my laptop on the floor. fortunately, my hand was not actually that far from the ground, and it landed on the throw rug screen side down and, thank deities, did not die. I already had enough adrenalin going at that point to jumpstart a groggy elephant.

3. arrive at work building at 5:30 for agreed-upon 5:30 start time– and sit in the cold and dark for colleagues to arrive and do various things inside the building– depart at 6:00. small gr.

4. drive three hours for a business meeting in another state (meanwhile, have I mentioned that I punch a time clock? oh, don’t get me started). got to move out of the back seat and drive for a delightful hour or so– I tend to get carsick– not actually hurling, just green and evil-feeling. car companions work– they talk about work things, they talk to people on their blackberries (once a descent hour arrives), they send email messages on their blackberries– they work. and I? mainly I exist, just shy of evil-feeling.

5. have very good meeting, which involved the need for me to be quite on and lucid and sharp– was not nearly at the top of my game, but managed it, in the main.

6. receive multiple facility tours– which would have been honestly fascinating (working in manufacturing is this incredible new learning process to me), if only I hadn’t felt like the bottom of the cat box. ooh and aah and manage note to run into any machinery and cause a whole rube goldberg type disaster.

7. return to car and ride three hours return in back seat while colleagues mainly continue to talk on and type into blackberries.

8. did I mention the daylong headache?

9. nausea.

10. arrive back at work parking lot just prior to closing time– don’t even step inside, just get in car, drive home, planning to nap.

11. get in bed, in utter delight– and then lie there, unable to sleep because I am actually too tired, for an hour or so.

12. get up and walk the poor desperate dog.

13. return– do various unuseful things in a fugue state, still unable to sleep.

14. start watching grey’s anatomy episodes on dvd and become unable to quit clicking forward to the next one as each ends. those cliffhangers! they getcha. finally, in exhausted self-disgust, eject the disk in the middle of an episode– at 1:30 in the morning.

15. go to sleep.

whew! non-drowsy indeed

good golly.

I discovered the merits of robitussin DM during a bout of bronchitis in boarding school. this was eons ago. the stuff was magical– it calmed the coughing, and when I did cough, it actually got the crap up out of my lungs.

more recently I’d heard mention, somewhere, anecdotally, of how robitussin DM had moved behind the pharmacy counter due to some hallucinagenic effects. well, apparently this rumor was untrue– because, when I had the flu recently and was coughing up a lung with a spooky squeak to it, I was thrilled to see my old friend on the regular pharmacy shelf– and even better DM in the generic store brand. awesome. cuz I’m cheap that way.

only– what’s this? “non-drowsy formula” on the label? well, okay. not the way I remembered the stuff, but that couldn’t be such a bad thing, could it?

it could be malarkey, is what it could be. home from work at 6:30, coughing, squeaking, take a dose of the old standby cough syrup and lie down to rest my eyes just for a bit– and, oops, hello, midnight.

I’m thinking walgreens has a definition of “non-drowsy” I’m unfamiliar with.


1. the telephone is a most excellent device! and weekends! I love free talk minutes weekends! I’ve had some absolutely delightful catchup sessions with a couple of friends yesterday and today, and this makes me feel that indeed there may be some speck of hope for happiness in my glum existence.

2. my friends with serious phone phobia, and you well know who you are, had better get right over it. because, A., some of you are in the process of making babies, and once kids are in the picture, that shit’s no longer gonna fly, and, B., I give great phone, yo.

3. when you’re traveling? and trying to connect up with people, you know? awesome.

4. the old free-with-2yr-contract samsung flipphone has been a real trooper– we’re well past that initial 2yr contract period at this stage, and now, finally, I come to retiring it– even though it has stood up to repeated cat abuse from charlie tuna upon its ring of my morning alarm, even though it has been the trustiest of devices, because now the battery is failing to keep its charge– and I jump on this as an excuse, at long last, to procure a qwerty keyboard. oh sms joy coming my way! no, not an iphone– dodgy reviews from a few owners conspired with that big ole pricetag ultimately to make me swerve on over to a crazy deal on a cute orange lg env through amazon. new phone number going out soon in email to friends and family.

5. scheduling friend catchup sessions can be difficult when you’re just not sure how you’re gonna feel on any given day (listen, phone phobes, I get it, I do)– the prospect of giving a thumbnail rundown on Things can be a little daunting when all that springs to mind is I hate my life and everything sucks— though you may well know it to be the farthest thing from the truth, sometimes it feels like it, yknow?

6. it is good not to feel so alone in the world.